I can’t believe they’re calling Ulysses 2.6 a dot update. Adding WordPress publishing, Dropbox sync, and universal search feel like much more than that. And, they even had the nerve to add Typewriter scrolling, which was my #1 feature request ever since Ulysses made it to the iPad. Am I happy with this Ulysses update? No. I’m ecstatic.
Here, let’s talk about why.
I’m no expert on ergonomics, but I do pay a lot of attention to what typing and screen positions give me grief. I spend a lot of time in front of screens, so I go out of my way to invest in hardware and software tools that make computing more comfortable, for longer periods of time. Getting a gigantic screen on the iPad Pro was one such decision, and finding apps with typewriter scrolling is another. iA Writer has it, Scrivener for iPad has it, and now Ulysses does as well.
Typewriter scrolling keeps your current line of text centered on the middle of the page, which means I stare mostly at the middle of the screen. I find this easier on my posture, specifically on my neck, since I am no longer looking at the bottom of the screen. I’ve never understood why so many writing apps ignore this awesome little feature. I just isn’t comfortable to keep your text along the bottom of the screen as you write, especially when you’re propping the iPad Pro up on your lap.
Another quick benefit of typewriter mode is the ease of jumping between paragraphs. As I use the arrow keys to switch between different lines of text, the paragraphs jump into position, but my eyes can just stay locked on the same spot.
iA Writer users will know this, but there’s also something more clean and crisp about activating typewriter mode with the “Highlight” mode. This blurs out everything but the current paragraph or line, and lets you tackle large posts one sentence at a time. This isn’t a unique feature, but I’m happy that Ulysses has it in v2.6.
Pressing CMD + O on the keyboard will immediately bring up a small window that searches every single document in Ulysses. This is really useful if you have a lot of documents and chapters for different sites as I do, although it does seem to be missing two small details: the ability to filter that search to specific folders, and an extra tag to show which folder a file is currently in.
If Ulysses could add those two extras, I can see it becoming a real competitor in the plain text notes space as well.
This was an unexpected bonus in this update, as I usually write in Markdown and then copy the HTML straight into the WordPress app. It took me a little while to find out where I could access WordPress publishing from (hint: the Preview screen), but once I did, it was very easy to add iPad Insight as one of the blogs.
I’m still testing uploads and seeing how pictures, tags, and categories work. However, I’ll be writing this up as its own separate post very soon, once I have had a bit more time to test this. Ulysses could become an even more powerful tool for me if I can write and publish from a single app.
I’m using iCloud for a lot more of my documents these days, but having an option to take advantage of Dropbox is handy — especially for cross-platform workflows. If you use Ulysses on the iPad, but use a Windows machine at home, then you’ll really love to have this feature on iOS.
I admittedly haven’t been able to test this one yet, as I’m having trouble adding the Dropbox folders on the iOS 10 beta.
I’m really, really pleased with Ulysses 2.6. Between the existing note editor, the excellent iCloud sync, and the new Dropbox sync, Typewriter mode, Quick Open, and WordPress publishing, I’m in awe of how much this app can do in one polished package. Ulysses has become a fantastic place to write and also take plain text notes, and you don’t often find those two features side-by-side in the same app.